Colin and I had our first little solo adventure into Santa Barbara last week. It took me a few days to work up the courage, since it's a 25-minute busride into town, and the bus back to our apartment only runs every hour. Also, Colin is at that endlessly-curious toddler stage, where he wants to be running off at every possible opportunity, and I had several premonitions of him running into the street or out the door of the open-air troller or off a pier.
But I'm happy to say that we made it, and our first excursion to the Santa Barbara aquarium was a huge success. God bless the museum curators who know how to design exhibits for children (and their parents), by which I mean exhibits close to the ground so that we don't have to forever be lifting them up to the glass an breaking our backs. Even though the Santa Barbara aquarium is incredibly small--only about 2,000 square feet, I would say--Colin got to touch live sharks and starfish, walk "under the sea" in a tunnel-like aquarium, and see glow-in-the-dark jellyfish. My favourite part was helping to pull up the "critter catcher" from the bottom of the harbour and dig around for live catch. But, I think Colin preferred to play in the big sea-shell filled sandbox. (Note to self: Make one of these at home, once the weather improves...in about eight months).
The most important thing about outings with toddlers--or so I have learned--is knowing when enough is enough. After about an hour-and-a-half of museum-going and Colin collapsing into a pile of pillows in the children's lounge, I took that as a sign. We were one the next bus back to UCSB, and Colin was in bed within the hour. He slept for another three. So did his mama. All in all, I'd call the day a success. Oh, and Colin never once tried to jump off the pier.